Love Through The Chaos

I think it is safe to say that 2020 has been a year of chaos in many respects. Uncertainty has lingered through the air for most of the year. We are running from a virus that we cannot see, yet its effects are devastating. We have all been impacted this year. Some of us have lost a family member or a friend to COVID-19. Others have become consumed with anxiety with no where to go due to isolation. Some of us had big plans for 2020 that had to get pushed off to another year.

There is chaos in our midst. Real chaos. And with chaos comes confusion, fear, and anxiety.

However, like the light from a lighthouse bursting through the fog, there is love.

I know I have seen it first hand. The chaos surrounding us, only makes the love that much more apparent.

I’ve seen videos of loved ones going out of there way to find a safe way to see one another.

I’ve seen friends calling more to check in on one another.

I’ve seen the family unit grow stronger as they are stuck under the same roof.

These small acts hold so much weight. When we are forced to find creative solutions to love; the effort is memorable. The sacrifice shown to us by others leaves an imprint in our minds that does not seem to fade.

COVID-19 is invisible, yet we see the impact.

Love itself is invisible, yet we see the impact.

I hear everyone saying lets just move on to 2021 and get over 2020. I don’t agree. In this chaotic year where everything seems to be falling apart, we have learned the impact of loving others deeply.

The truth is clear.

When we love, we carry on.

Trust Anyway

There is not much to say that has not been said.

People are dying at alarming rates. Jobs are being lost every second. People are stuck in apartments, houses, and other countries. The world is spinning in a wild confusion. Wedding plans are up in the air. Churches have been locked for weeks. Streets are desolate.

It is all surreal.

Yet, in this moment, we are continuously being called.

Called by God to have a deeper trust in His plan for our and our families live. A trust that is mightier than any pandemic.

How are we to trust in times like these? How are we to give up all control?

Slowly and with persistence.

Building trust does not happen in the happy moments. Nor does it happen in an instant. Trust is built in the trenches.

Trust is hearing the sound of bullets ricocheting around us and knowing God is our defense. Today, these shots are firing every morning we wake up and see the new stats. The bullets do not seem to be stopping. It is very easy to get caught up in ourselves as we see the world burning. Questions without answers is all we have right now.

Trust is a process where we are dying moment by moment–dying to ourselves—placing all control into the hands of God.

Whatever situation you find yourself in during this pandemic, I want to encourage you to develop a trust in your Father in Heaven. Hold steadfast to the truth; He loves you and cares about you. Hope must be our guide. Let us do all we can do pray for and be there for those impacted by this virus.

Though we may feel like our whole world is upside down, we must trust anyway.

 

 

Microwave Moments

You go into your freezer and pull out that ice cream you have been waiting to eat all day. You grab a spoon from the drawer, open the lid, and dive right into the pint. Yet, the ice cream is as hard as a rock. You keep trying but you are just getting ice cream shavings. So you do the microwave trick.

You take the ice cream and put it in the microwave for ten seconds.

When you take it out it has softened a bit and now you can enjoy it.

Like the ice cream, there are many people whose hearts have hardened by their environment.

You try to talk with them or form relationships with them, yet whenever you try it’s like you are talking to a wall. They are cold. Some people can become quite ruthless.

It may be difficult to be kind towards these people. It takes a big dose of humility and a giant amount of patience. Yet, this is what we are called to do.

When we are kind, loving, patient, generous, caring, etc. towards individuals with a hardened heart it turns into a microwave moment. Though on the outside they may appear cold, a transformation is occurring inside of them. It doesn’t have to be big acts of kindness. Sometimes the smallest acts slip into the cracks of their heart easier.

People may condemn you and laugh at you. They may tell you that said person will never change. They will tell you to just leave them alone and move on.

However, this is not what Christ has called us to do. He has called us to live lives of pure love towards EVERYONE.

So continue to choose to love those with a hardened heart.

You may be their last hope.

Go Get It

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 

The most difficult part of the race we are running is remembering we are running a race.

We have a goal.

Go get it.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Drop the Key

I went on a run today. When I run, I usually have to hold onto my key. My pockets are usually not deep enough, and quite frankly they would definitely fall out.

So I clench my key in my sweaty hand.

We, humans, hold onto a lot of things tightly in our hands.

A lot of things that don’t really matter…

Such as anxiety, fear, mistrust, doubt. We clench onto all this stuff.

We need to let it all go and open our hands.

However, while running and holding my key for dear life, I was reminded of the fact that there is one thing we need to hold onto.

The Key that opens up Home.

When we are born we are all given a key. Through Baptism and our choices we decide if we want to hold onto this gift.

One day we are gonna have to hand over our key to God and He will open the gates and call us Home.

This key is the ability to enter into the Kingdom of God.

We must never forget that when life gets tough and we feel like we cannot go forward anymore.

Our purpose is to make it Home and enter through the gates.

We were given a key in our hearts.

So keep running, and don’t drop the key.

 

 

We are His

If you look back on your day, how much of it was consumed with negative thinking? Not just about the circumstances of the day, but of yourself?

If you are like me, a lot of it.

It is almost as though I was a fish at the bottom of a lake. As I swam about my day, the more I moved my fins the more murky water would rise up.

All of the concerns (lets call them the roots), go back to the trunk of the tree (fear).

Common fears are:

It’s my fault. I’m to blame. Why am I this way. Where are my headed. Is this right? Will I fail? Why did I mess up again. Why am I so weak. I am lost. I will forever feel like this.

Then the dwelling starts. A cycle of tasting more fears until eventually you are filled with them. And what happens when you eat something? It starts to be what you are composed of. If you eat healthy your body becomes healthy. If you eat junk, your body starts to not feel the best.

So, what was I doing? What are you doing? Consuming fear daily.

For the longest time, I wondered why I was so confused. Some days I would just struggle to see the world clearly. The truth was the road hidden behind the foggy windshield.

That is when I knew I needed to change.

So I started making declarations.

I once talked to a priest in confession. He told me I needed to start looking in the mirror and reminding myself “God loves me and I am lovable.” He told me I could stop when I believed it.

That is one declaration. Something I know is true regardless of my mind or feelings which are telling me otherwise.

Here are some declarations you may want to use:

I am loved by God.

I am a child of God Almighty.

I am filled with the Holy Spirit.

I am watched over by the Blessed Mother, the Angels, and the Saints.

I believe in the Gospel.

One day I will embrace Christ.

I am a Knight of Christ.

I am a warrior for His Kingdom.

I will courageously do Christ’s will. 

Friends, it’s all about changing what we consume. Over time by declaring and following through with your statements, you will experience change. Fear will scatter.

C.S. Lewis has a famous quote,

“My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices because I am out of the fight.”

So fight. Fight against fear by declaring the truth.

Because everyday you might not have the power over your feelings.

You might get lost in the ups and the downs.

But in the end, you are in charge of the will.

The will to do His will.

Cause Love

There is someone out there that you love.

Whether that be in a romantic way, familial, or brotherly.

There is someone, who you will sacrifice for every day. A person you are willing to do anything for just because they are who they are.

Here are a few example you might relate to:

-A child who studies really hard day and night because he or she loves his or her parents. 

-A girlfriend who drives hours to surprise her boyfriend.

-A mother who doesn’t sleep in to make sure her children’s clothes are ironed.

-A friend who calls you even though they are having such a busy day

Love makes us do crazy stuff. Crazy awesome stuff.

Love is the energy. Selfless giving fuels us.

Last night, I thought a lot about love. I thought about how easy it was for me to understand what it means to do things out of love for those in my life I care about.

Like my parents, my cousins, or siblings…

 

Then I related this thought to Jesus.

And everything got a little simpler.

Do everything for the love of God.

Jesus is our Lord. Jesus is our best friend. Jesus is our father.

Yet, sometimes we forget we can do everything because we love Him.

If we change our intention, we will change our mindset.

By doing this, I can assure you motivation will take you over.

A great book on this topic is the book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.

Highly recommend, it is also super short so it can be read pretty quickly.

In this small book, Brother Lawrence talks about falling in love with God’s Presence and having it take over your life.

By constantly being aware of God’s love, the world changes.

The darkness may still be around us, but we can more easily focus on the light.

This week let us focus on loving God the way we love the important people in our lives.

If we do this, we can do the impossible.

 

 

It’s All Good

 

In my house above one of the doors there is a sign that reads,

God’s got a plan, and it’s all good.

It’s a nice little slogan.

Looking at it usually gives me a surge of peace.

It is a call to action: trust in God.

In reference to the Bible it probably relates to Romans 8:28.

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” ROMANS 8:28. 

This past year for me was not really what I expected it to be.

I had a lot of troubles enter into my life that I did not understand.

I had a lot of moments where I felt like Lt. Dan from Forest Gump as he shouted at God while on the fishing boat in the middle of the storm.

Lt. Dan Loud Conversation with God link

Like Lt. Dan, I did not understand. I could not grasp why my life was turning out such a way.

Thoughts flooded my mind…

Why was I in this situation? 

When would I have hope again?

Where was God going with this?

I am sure you have found yourself stuck in the middle of such a storm and confused about God’s plan for your life.

Humanity and confusion basically mean the same thing haha.

With this confusion, can come a lot of anger and bitterness.

For me this was visible in how I viewed my Creator.

I started to see God just as Lt. Dan did. I saw God as a coach forcing me to do as many sprints as I could to become stronger. I saw God as a military leader doing all he could to train me to become a warrior.

While I do believe God does exemplify some of these traits, I was missing the largest piece of all.

The mercy of Our Lord.

Surely God was their through my trials, yet I viewed Him as the cause rather than the comfort

Thinking about this now is extremely sad for me.

My perception of my Lord was stained all because of fear and pride.

My way had to be the right way.

My way must be the best for me.

My way was what I worked towards.

How often, in your life, have similar thoughts filled your mind?

So what are we to do?

We are to remember, Romans 8:28.

We are to remember that God is not the cause but He is the comfort.

In Him all trials, pains, suffering, and fear can be transformed into gift.

For this to happen, we must humble ourselves.

Look courageously towards Heaven.

And remember our way is not the right way.

Because God has got a plan, and it is alllllllll goooood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Held My Hand

Have you woken up in the morning and felt like you must have swam across the Atlantic in your sleep?

When your feet touch the floor, you catch yourself from falling over?

Your eyelids decide to stay partially closed and the shower does not help?

I felt exactly like this when I woke up today.

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Well, this morning I had Church at 8am.

My four hours of sleep wasn’t really cooperating with me.

But, thankful, I made it to Church and prayed for some energy to take part in the celebration of God’s awesomeness.

However, as the music played my eyelids became heavy. For the next 30 minutes I did everything in my power to fight it. My eyelids were bench pressing air and not successfully. Since I go to school far away from home, I usually am in Church alone. Therefore, I didn’t have one of my siblings or parents to give me the oh so gentle nudge with their elbow.

I was zoning in and out of during the Scripture readings.

I heard the priests homily and probably dozed off for a few seconds in between sentences.

I was not only tired, but extremely anxious.

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I had a restlessness embedded in my limbs.

I had feelings of fear.

I had feelings of uncertainty.

I was being consumed with negative self-talk.

It eventually came time in the Mass for the Our Father prayer. 

In some Churches people may hold hands, especially families.

But between strangers, it is rare.

As the prayer begins I am still in my head. I am not present. I am restless. I am doubtful. I am uncertain. I am scared. I feel terrible. I feel alone.

All of a sudden, as I’m putting my cold hand into my sweatshirt sleeve, I feel something grab it.

I look up, and see a woman in her late 60s, sitting two seats away from me.

She had the most peaceful smile I have ever seen before.

It was as if a force knocked me over.

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It was as if I was lost and found.

It was as if my heart began beating with a greater force.

The moment she grabbed my hand I felt the weight melt away. My eyelids were no longer heavy. I was filled with energy. I felt a lightening bolt of peace.

When the prayer came to the end, I noticed myself hesitating to let go of her hand.

I felt I belonged. I felt out of my own head. I felt freedom.

As I was praying before Communion, her action was really getting to me.

I start to tear up.

The small act of love this woman showed me today, gave me all I needed. She reached out to a man who was alone, and reminded him of how much he is loved. Grabbing my hand was not the comfortable thing to do.

She chose to be uncomfortable so I would be comfortable.  

This woman did not pay off all my students loans. She did not heal me of all my past hurt. Nor did she comfort me for hours with her words.

 

This morning gave me a lot of insight.

It reminded me that love is the energy. By receiving and giving love we are made new.

It reminded me of how many good people are out there.

It reminded me that being comfortable and a Christian doesn’t make much sense.

It reminded me that the smallest acts of love may make the greatest impact.

It reminded me that my neighbor is waiting for me. To hold his or her hand. To let them know I am here. To let them know that I care.

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She held my hand.

And because of that act.

I witnessed the reckless love of God. 

 

 

 

 

A Simple Little Prayer

Dear Lord,

Direct my soul to your love. Give me the strength to let go. Fill me with the courage to choose You over myself. Calm my restless heart. Remind me that the Holy Spirit is with me on this journey. Thank you Lord, for your presence. Refocus my gaze on You alone. Give me the ability to recognize my weakness and use it as a force of faith. Tear down the walls I have placed around my heart. Walls that block me from You. Walls that block me from my true self. Walls that prevent me from loving my neighbor as myself. Lord, water me like a flower. You are my sunlight. Lord, I am with you in this moment.

Amen.